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Latest Updates from Our Project:
Scion July Update: More Art and Proofs
6 months ago
– Sat, Jul 28, 2018 at 02:28:23 AM
Greetings, true believers! I hold in my hands the first proof of Scion: Hero, and man, this book is gorgeous. If you’re coming to Gen Con, I’ll be there, running Scion demos (as will the Wrecking Crew) and talking up the game.
I’m going through the proof right now, trying to get through most of it before Gen Con so I can identify any really extant problems. I’m going page by page, making comments, altering text here and there for clarity, and trying to avoid those ever-growing errata threads.
(speaking of which, Origin’s errata thread is here. We’ll be closing it sometime soon, so get comments in!)
One of the most critical holdups and things to get right is art. For example, I received the Orisha full-page pantheon spread back. “This is amazing,” I thought. Then I showed it to some of my writing crew and sensitivity readers, all of whom came back with the same criticism: “There aren’t any black hairstyles.”
I tell you with full candor, Scion readers, that there is an absolute and discernible value to having a diverse writing staff. You might ask, “Well, how does diversity affect mechanics?” but even in the earliest stages of the game’s development, when we were talking about Momentum, I heard horror stories of players — mostly women and minority players — being ignored, marginalized, or even mocked at the table. We were considering having other folks determine your Momentum’s effect through narrative means, but we discarded that when one author shared a story about how her Boons were sometimes twisted in frankly gross ways by other players. Scion assumes a trusting group and encourages teamwork both in game and out, but at the same time your character’s agency remains your own.
In this case, I hadn’t asked for Sònpònná to have dreads, maybe an afro or a straw hat for Ògún, cornrows for Òrúnnmìlà, bantu knots for Morèmi, and Òrìshà-Oko with a 90s flattop like Big Daddy Kane, because it simply didn’t occur to me. I wasn’t trying to ignore or marginalize anyone’s experience, but if you don’t involve everyone in the process it happens anyways. This is part of why I take so much time hunting down authors and discussing pantheons with sensitivity readers: the Gods in Scion aren’t the real gods, but they’re as close as we can make them to feel authentic. It’s a process that asks for blood and sweat, but as Zora Neale Hurston once said, half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers…real gods require blood.
(and yeah, we fixed the art for their hair.)
I feel good about Scion’s Gods. They’re human and mythic, they’re grounded in the past, and their future is bright. See you all at Gen Con, but I'm dragging my laptop with me so I can keep working on the proof while I'm there. In the meantime, I'm working hard on completing Scion: Demigod's outline and the outlines for the next few Scion books, which will be handled by very capable developers working under my supervision so we can get lots of projects out in tandem.
What's in store for Demigod?
Five new pantheons! We haven't approved the final list, and Rich and Eddy would be mad at me if I put out a list and then we decided to change our minds in the outline stage. So I definitely won't promise the Mesopotamian pantheon, that would be presumptuous.
New mechanics that allow you to apply Purviews to entire scenes, enabling new Stunts that anyone can access (if a God of Fire is around, suddenly everything becomes a lot more flammable...). Lots of uses for all those Enhancements, successes, and Scale you're carrying around.
Streamlined and cinematic "mass" combat rules that allow you to play big setpiece fights without everyone rolling for Initiative.
A lot of campaign and character planning advice and mechanics so you and the Storyguide can plot out the mythic arc of a character on their ascension to Godhood. Will their story be one of triumph, or of tragedy?
Also, giant monsters. And I mean giant monsters. Like, giant to giants. I mean we're talking like the size of an island.
First Draft (The first phase of a project that is about the work being done by writers, not dev prep):
- Scion: Mysteries of the World (Scion: Hero Companion)
Post-Editing Development and Art Direction:
- Scion: Hero (Scion: Hero) Some final pieces of artwork coming in, first proof being worked on.
A Note About Our Current Kickstarter Project!
There's THREE DAYS LEFT for the Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2nd Edition Kickstarter and we’ve funded the project and achieved twelve Stretch Goals so far! Thanks to all of our backers out there spreading the word! We are in good shape to be able to make a great looking hardcover edition, and get that into stores, even while we’re giving backers first look at the complete text and other fun benefits: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/200664283/geist-the-sin-eaters-2nd-edition
Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2nd Edition includes all the rules you need to play as one of the Bound: Five Burdens reflecting the cause that pulled you back from the grave, five krewe Archetypes for building your own mystery religion, and the Haunts, Keys, and Ceremonies that provide the Bound with their macabre powers.
It also includes the Chronicle of the Dead, featuring the Sin-Eaters’ struggle against the all-consuming Underworld and a variety of terrifying threats. In addition, for the first time in the Chronicles of Darkness lines, ghosts are presented as playable characters.
Like I said, the game is already funded, and now we're working at unlocking Stretch Goals - including additional rules and setting material in a Companion book, Memento Mori. If you haven't already, come by and check us out and hopefully join in on the fun!
Scion: Origin Backer PDF links sent out!
6 months ago
– Thu, Jul 12, 2018 at 02:09:57 AM
Hello Scion Backers!
I just finished sending out the messages containing links for the Scion: Origin backer PDF to all backers whose reward tier included them!
If you think you should have received a link message, but didn't, please first check to be sure the Reward Tier you pledged to contains a Scion: Origin PDF. Then, please check your message threads from BackerKit, and your spam folders before messaging me, but if you do have problems, we'll figure it out.
You should also check the Digital Downloads section of your BackerKit page for the links.
Likewise, if you get your link(s) but for some reason the download isn't working, please contact DTRPG customer service before contacting me as I have no ability to engage on that aspect of getting you your reward(s). Either way, we will figure out any problems so you get your files. No worries!
We'll be gathering up comments for Neall for at least two weeks, and then after that he'll need to go through the lists and make any changes. Any tweaks we make to the PDF will be automatically updated and show up in your DTRPG library. All you'll need to do is re-download the PDF. This includes things like pg XXs, bookmarks, interactivity for the character sheet, etc. that we can't do until we're sure that things like the page locations won't change with the errata.
Meanwhile, work continues to get the Scion: Hero backer PDF ready for you, and after we pull that through this same process we can send the books to press.
Thanks again for your patience as we worked really hard to make this an amazing Scion: Origin PDF!
July Scion Update!
7 months ago
– Sat, Jul 07, 2018 at 02:01:44 AM
This is Eddy, one of Onyx Path's in-house developers, and one of my jobs is to help Neall out on Scion. Since he's busy making gods in his basement (see below), I'm pitching in to offer you some updates on where things are at!
This is the first Storypath System book that Onyx Path will be putting out, so we wanted to make sure it was right. As such, we took a more detailed review pass than we usually do. The good news is, the response from the team was very good! We did notice a few things we could tweak to make it even better, though, so I spent some time working with Mirthful Mike Chaney to adjust the layout. That means the Backer PDF should be out to you very soon! (Once you get it, you'll notice that page references aren't done yet, with our infamous "p. XX" placeholders. Don't worry -- we'll get all those in the errata pass but don't want to change them until after we input any errata as changes can move some text off the pages the p. XX's point to.)
Because of the nature of these books, we needed to nail down Origin before we really dove into Hero's layout, but that's coming right after we sort out Origin.
SCION COMPANION: MYSTERIES OF THE WORLD
The amazing and talented Meghan Fitzgerald is taking the dev chair on the Companion. Neall worked with her on the outline and the initial kick-off, but now she's flying solo as the writers are writing. Meghan is fantastic, and Neall and I both have faith she'll do a great job on this!
Neall's hard at work on the Scion: Demigod outline, and he's been sitting in with the Trinity Continuum: Aberrant design group discussing ideas and brainstorming, since both games are Storypath-based and deal with protagonists of superhuman capacity. He's also working on outlines for the ready-made characters, the jumpstart, and Creatures of the World -- once he has those done, I'll work with him to find talented developers to shepherd them, so he can keep his focus on Demigod.
So there you have it! We're at that great stage where key pieces are finally clearing the process pipeline, so other parts can start moving. You'll start seeing a lot of momentum in the near future!
Meanwhile, At Our Current Kickstarter:
Last Monday, we started the Kickstarter for Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2nd Edition for Chronicles of Darkness! It funded in under a day and is still rolling through Stretch Goals! If the very brief bit of info below sounds interesting, you can check it out here:
In Geist: The Sin-Eaters, you play a person who died with a powerful burden on their soul — something they didn't accomplish in life, or something they never found. On the other side of the veil, they made a bargain with a powerful being called a geist, which returned them to the world of the living and to their own body, at the cost of a permanent bond between them and the geist. Now your character stands as a medium, with one foot in the world of the living and one in the world of the dead.
Scion June Update: Art and Scion Companion
8 months ago
– Mon, Jun 04, 2018 at 11:10:02 PM
Greetings, true believers! I'm hard at work proofing Scion: Origin, which is in the very final stages before release. After me, it goes back to approvals at Onyx Path, and we make any final changes before it comes out to you, the backers.
But Scion: Hero is very close behind.
Other than that, we're currently hiring writers for the Scion Companion, which has a completed outline that's dropped off the back of a truck right here. One notable thing that we decided to put in last-minute (and isn't in the outline yet) is something I like to call the Myth Level.
Scion has a number of setting dials one can turn. The default setting of Scion is one where the divine and the legendary are barely hidden from the World at large, where religions of the Gods are popular and accepted, where monotheism isn't often at odds with the Gods (or is co-opted in pantheon power plays), or where the genre of the game shifts as you go from Origin to Hero and then again when you get to Demigod and God. This is all intended, but there's a setting difference from First to Second Edition that have thrown some folks off, so we're dusting off an old idea and giving it new polish.
The Myth Level is five options along four axes of design, meant to allow the Storyguide to choose and emulate how many of Scion’s setting “dials” they want to crank. The one we've discussed the most is the presence of the divine in everyday life, or how much Scion deals with, well, the Gods. Named after Hesiod's Five Ages of Man, these dials are:
Iron: Perfectly mundane. Indeed, even a little shabby when it comes to creatures of Legend. Very similar in nature and tone to Gaiman's American Gods, where ifriti are cab drivers, Odin is a shiftless wandering con man, and Chernobog and the goddesses of dawn, midday, and evening are poor immigrants scraping by in a shitty apartment in Chicago. Most Knacks don't function fully, most Boons provide only weak "tricks". Gods communicate through Omens and small miracles when they're not embodied, and religion takes the place of most direct communications. The default genre setting of Origin.
Heroic: Mostly mundane, but with room for great acts of heroism. Most Hero-level abilities work normally in this environment, though most abilities still seem either tremendously lucky or as a result of great skill, and Boons deliberately pass into the next level. Most supernatural creatures still have mundane manifestations here (that centaur might still just be a biker here), but Scions and gods may appear as impressive and tremendous - Aphrodite isn't some burnt out barfly here, she's drop-dead gorgeous and probably on fashion covers. This is the level of the Iliad and the Odyssey and Hero, though that game also heavily crosses into...
Bronze: This is where the supernatural comes into play now. Creatures of Legend shed their mundane disguises in areas of Bronze Myth, and appear in their true nature. Magic becomes overt here, and Demigods wield their true power. This is Clash of the Titans territory, and there might just actually be dragons in that undetailed area of the map. This is where Hero truly lives.
Silver: Past the threshold of urban myth and getting into epic fantasy, places of Silver Myth are deeply resonant with Myth. They are often fanciful places and hidden vales of magic technically found in the World, but not of it. Godly powers work at their full potency here, and the power of a creature of Legend is reflected in its appearance - the mightier the entity, the more impressive it appears. Zelazny's Lord of Light goes into this area of Myth in its narrative.
Demigod exists in this space, dealing with the effects of myth on a culture.
Gold: Flat-out mythological, where symbolism is the same as its reality. Places of Gold Myth are not even of this World, and all creatures of Legend may find their powers increased by the richness of the locale's potent Legend (in game terms, areas of Gold Myth actually have extra Effects that anyone can use if they meet the prerequisites). Lots of Scion 1e went into this territory, with its otherworldly locales, and lots of fantasy that touches on extradimensional areas and the like qualify.
God works on this level.
We'll save the other dials, such as the presence of the Titanomachy or genre, for another update.
That's it for now! For the most up-to-date Scion information, keep checking back at theonyxpath.com every Monday evening for Rich's Monday Meeting notes.
Scion May Update!
8 months ago
– Tue, May 08, 2018 at 07:04:58 PM
Greetings, true believers!
A short update this month. Origin and Hero are both in "layout", the phase of production where text is placed into books and arranged with the art. I don't have any part of that - I'm just a monkey at a typewriter - so that's in the hands of Onyx Path's art director.
If you want to stay up to date with all of our projects, go to theonyxpath.com every Monday for the Monday Meeting Notes and read Rich ramble about the weekly company tag-up and on various topics in the company and in the roleplaying industry. You'll see the week Scion moves closer to full production.
If you haven't engaged on forums.theonyxpath.com and visited the Scion forum, now's a great time to do so! There's an Ask Neall thread where you can directly ask me a question if you like, or just make a new thread and talk about the game. I've been a little busy these past few weeks*, but this week is my week to catch up!
*playing God of War. That's research, though! You can't hold that against me, right?
Just a few quick updates for you this month:
THE SCION HERO COMPANION One of my quiet objectives in pitching the stretch goals was to have every pantheon from First Edition represented, even the weird semi-canonical French pantheon that was only available from the French translation of the Storyteller's Screen. One of the most time-intensive elements of Scion has been doing our actual homework on pantheons rather than reading Wikipedia and calling it a day. We've been doing research on how to properly represent the Loa (really a half-pantheon expansion for the Orisha), the Yazata (deities of Persia), and the Nemetondevos (the aforementioned Gauls). These are fully canonical pantheons, with signature Scions and Pantheon Specific Purviews.
That leaves the fictional Atlantean pantheon, which we're using as a primer on how to add your own fictional pantheons to a game by taking some related myths and creating a culture. They're largely optional to a Scion game. In the "proper", canonical World, Atlantis is known to the Egyptian and Greco-Roman Gods as a ruined and lost Terra Incognita, but if you want to use the Atlanteans of Scion Second Edition, it's a Mediterranean island nation island shrouded in secrecy and largely hidden from the World with Gods who are mystics and technocrats. With a stagnant culture but highly-advanced technology, what happens when Atlantis returns to the World stage at last?
The two Pantheons were aren't using from First Edition are the American and Nationalist Pantheons, largely because we didn't really see a need. Figures like Johnny Appleseed are probably better represented as Scions of extant Gods (like Idunn, Goddess of Youth and Apples. Look him up - he was all about a Swedish Church, and his apples weren't for eating), other Gods will be covered in later supplements (like Baba Yaga, since we're aiming to cover the Slavic Pantheon around Demigod) while nations have their own independent deities now (something also covered in the Companion). Still, we cover how to make your own Purviews in the Companion and how to make Gods are covered by the Atlantean Pantheon, so recreating Uncle Sam and The Citizen is made easy for you.
The last big section of the Companion is cults. Scion Second Edition has a feeling more deeply-rooted in faith and interactions with mortals, which is a primary task of Heroes. Expect this section to have mechanics on how to use and apply cults to do stuff for you, give you Deeds to perform, and Storyguiding advice on how comfortable (or uncomfortable) being an intermediary for the Gods can be. Having famous parents can really suck.
THE SCION BESTIARY We've been looking over how to make those descended from Creatures of Legend ("Denizens of the World") more viable as player character options. Being a full giant in a game of Scion is just as viable as playing a half-giant son of Loki (who is a full giant and causes earthquakes when he writhes in pain, for everyone wondering why he's got Epic Strength). While you'll usually never equal the versatility or power of a full Scion, being "just" a Denizen should give you unique options and an interesting playstyle. Centaurs and Satyrs are interesting on the Hero level, Kitsune can eventually grow nine tails and stand toe-to-toe with Demigods, while certain Strange Folk can reach the levels of divinity, or even beyond that...
SCION JUMPSTART Part of our goal here is to provide not just an example of how to use the system and easy new players into it, but to provide a roadmap to Storyguides on how a tale of Scion usually progresses. We're tailoring a murder mystery from the Gen Con test scenario we've been using since the beta and stretching it out to show off tactical options, Storyguiding advice, and different options for individual Scions. One really memorable example from the scenario I ran involved a player trying to use Death to simply summon the ghost of the deceased to ask who killed her, only for it to not work because the deceased was of the Egyptian pantheon and her soul was currently split into multiple parts. No matter, the player said - I'll summon other nearby ghosts who aren't split into fives and ask them what happened. It was clever, and I'm never going to say no to clever at the table, so it's getting a sidebar.
Next month we're hoping to have a few more substantive (and colorful) updates. Stay tunes, keep believing, and post on the forums!